|I Googled Gene Wojciechowski, and this picture appropriately came up.|
ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski is, to put it bluntly, a no talent ass clown. While some baseball writers put a great deal of time into crafting a coherent, rational piece (Joe Posnanski for instance), Wojciechowski chooses to feed off of basic emotions and spew venom. Most of his articles come off as silly, juvenile, and poorly thought out. Today’s article on Cliff Lee is no different. I’m in kind of a snarky mood today, so I’m going to break this article down Fire Joe Morgan style.
The Cliff Lee Rent-An-Ace Tour has played its last 2010 gig. When we next see Lee, there's a good chance he'll be the lead singer for the New York Yankees.
Wait a second. The New York Yankees are a band now? All of this time I thought they were a baseball team…
If so, the memories of his 17-week Texas Rangers career will be a conflicted one. So good and yet, so 0-2.
Oh, snap! Oh no he didn’t just say that! So good and yet, so 0-2? That’s a sick burn man. Someone find Wilmer Valderrama and sign him up for next round of MTV’s Yo Momma! I think we have a star in the making. (Seriously, they need to bring that back. The unintentional comedy factor is through the roof.)
Lee started this World Series against the San Francisco Giants with a loss and ended it with one. As prop bets go, you would have gotten Bengie Molina-sized odds on the chances of Lee taking the L train twice in six nights.
Ha ha ha! Oh gosh that's funny! That's really funny! Do you write your own material? Do you? Because that is so fresh. “You would have gotten Bengie Molina-sized odds…” You know, I've never heard anyone make a joke about Bengie Molina’s weight before. Hmm. You're the first. I've never heard anyone reference, reference that outside of the baseball world. Because that's what everyone in baseball says. Isn't it? Bengie Molina is fat. And, and yet you've taken that and used it out of context to insult Cliff Lee’s inability to get a win in the World Series. (Let’s forget that his team only scored one run in support of his start last night.) God what a clever, smart boy you must be, to come up with a joke like that all by yourself. That's so fresh too. Any, any Barry Bonds forehead jokes you want to throw at me too as long as we're hitting these phenomena at the height of their popularity. God you're so funny!
(Yes, I stole this from Family Guy. When I'm unoriginal, I admit it up front. The same could not be said about Wojo...)
He wasn't the best pitcher in this Series. That was San Fran's Tim Lincecum. He wasn't the second best (the Giants' Matt Cain). Or third best (SF's Madison Bumgarner). I'm not even sure he was fourth best (Texas Colby Lewis?).
Zing! Cliff Lee wasn’t even the fourth best pitcher in the series! That really hurts. Apparently, Wojciechowski doesn’t understand small sample size variances. Let’s completely forget that Cain, Bumgarner, and Lewis only started one game, while Lincecum and Lee started two.
Instead, he was on the wrong end of half the wins the Giants needed to close out this Series on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Not only did he give up the deciding three-run dinger to Edgar Renteria with two out in the top of the seventh, but he was out-dueled by a guy who arrived at the stadium wearing a bow tie. It was like getting beat by George Will.
Shut up! Shut up! You don’t know him! Tim Lincecum knows he looks good wearing his George Will bow tie. Your just jealous. Why you gotta judge?
Also, isn’t it a bit ridiculous to blame Lee for both losses? Haven’t we gotten to a point where baseball writers (and fans) understand that a pitcher’s won-loss record frequently has little to do with their performance on the field. Wins and losses are a team statistic, not an individual statistic. We can start blaming pitchers for losses once the other eight players on the team promise to have any affect on the game.
While I can see how someone could place a share of the blame on Lee’s shoulders for Game 1’s loss, it’s not entirely fair to do so in Game 5. The Rangers offense scored only one run in support of his start. The only way Lee’s going to get a win in that situation is if he gives up zero runs—and then his bullpen and defense has to hold the lead.
Actually, Lincecum had electric stuff. The Dallas-area power grid could have run off it for weeks. Lee was good (seven innings, six hits, six strikeouts, those three earned runs), but Lincecum was, well, freakishly good.
Clever. Calling Lincecum a freak, I mean. No one has ever done that before either. His nickname is “The Freak” (because of his unusual pitching windup), and Fox played a song by a band called the Freaky Freaks in homage to Lincecum. Do you have any original thoughts of your own? I fully admit that I’m borrowing someone else’s schtick to mock you, but at least I admitted it up front.
"It was a classic pitchers' duel -- down to that home run," Lee said. "Nobody in this room is more disappointed than I am."
Lee spoke in measured, even tones, but his eyes said otherwise. They were red and borderline misty. Anybody who thinks these losses didn't leave more than a flesh wound doesn't know Lee.
How perceptive! I had no idea that losing a championship deciding game would be upsetting to Cliff Lee—or anyone else on the Rangers for that matter. Clearly, taking freshman psych in college opened your eyes to a world unseen by anyone else.
"If I could go back in time and make a different pitch, I would," Lee said. "But you can't do that."
It was a cutter, by the way. A cutter that didn't cut. It found the fat part of the plate, then the fat part of Renteria's bat and then the left-field seats.
I love the added faux-drama Wojo adds here. “It was a cutter, by the way. A cutter that didn’t cut.” He’s writing this as if it’s meant to be narrated by David Caruso.
Why he didn't go ahead and walk Renteria with the count at 2-0 is a question that will make the sports-talk rounds. With runners on second and third and first base open, Lee could have pitched around Renteria and taken his chances against the little-used Aaron Rowand.
Aren’t people that write about baseball supposed to…I don’t know…know something about baseball? If Wojo had done any research (I know, I’m asking too much), he would’ve found out that Baseball Prospectus had done a study on just this topic, and published the findings! BP found that with runners on second and third with two outs, a team can expect to score 26.6% of the time. If the Rangers had walked Renteria to load the bases they would’ve increased the Giants’ likelihood of scoring to 30.7% (an increase of 4.1%). When a game is late and tied, do you really think it’s the best idea to give a team a greater likelihood of scoring a run? I certainly don’t—especially when that run could end up being the only one scored in the game. Additionally, Edgar Renteria of the .314 wOBA was up to bat. I’ll take my chances every time.
"I don't really want to load the bases right there," Lee said.
Cliff Lee gets it. Why don’t you?
So he threw the cutter and Renteria hit the dinger that gave the Giants their first world championship since 1954.
Rowand flew out to right to end the inning.
Sometimes shit happens. Renteria had a .374 SLG (.099 ISO) this year. Do you really think there was a great chance for him to hit his second home run of the series? I don’t think so. Then again, I’m rationally inclined and understand the variability of statistics.
I love how he justifies his original idea to walk Rowand by bringing up that Rowand flew out to end the inning after Renteria hit the three run home run. Just because Rowand hit a fly ball in that situation, it doesn’t mean that he would’ve hit a lazy fly ball with the bases loaded. With a change in situation comes a change in hitting style. With a three run lead and nobody on, perhaps he didn’t feel it was necessary to be as patient as he might have been with a 0-0 tie and the bases loaded.
That's how it goes. Without Lee, the Rangers probably wouldn't have defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Division Series or perhaps the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. He was the rotation's rock.
Probably? That might be the understatement of the year. They probably don’t win more than a game against the Rays without him.
But now the Rangers have to beat the Yankees again. They outflanked the Yankees in the July 9 trade that brought Lee to Texas. They outscored and outpitched them in the ALCS. Can they out-money-whip them?
No one can out-money-whip the Yankees. Wait. Is “out-money-whip” a real term?
The rest of the article is pretty benign. It’s just run of the mill hypothesizing about what Lee will via free agency, and whether he’s worth the money he’ll command. I’ve already covered that (in greater detail), and he doesn’t really provide any opinions that are either new or different. Wojciechowski does make one tired remark about how the Yankees are the “Death Star” and Hal Steinbrenner is Darth Vader. This includes the obvious, "Cliff, I am your faaaather." Gag me. Someone please find this man some originality.